Of course, by granting cover to the craptastic, I’m guilty, too. I was fascinated by the Guardian’s recent dredging up of a contemporary review of one of my idol’s cookbooks. And it is pretty damned damning. But it also made me realize how seldom you see the truth hurting these days. I’ve Tweeted that “on the internet, everyone knows you’re an idiot,” but it’s equally true that logrolling has overwhelmed any attempts at honesty, at least outside of the comment sections. Print is not only not dead. It’s dominated by shitshows, yet every book’s a winner. And not only can you recycle recipes at will, you can even get an old-line book deal. If only the only woman who went to jail in the financial meltdown had known: Just add a fucking adjective to your purloined shrimp toasts and you’re even more golden.
Literary agents always natter on about wannabe authors needing a “platform” to sell a book proposal. And the shakiest one I’ve come across in a long while is a husband who reviews cookbooks for one of the last newspaper sections standing. The premise is ridiculous, that “home cooks dismiss (steak) as ‘eating out’ food” — someone has to be buying all those scary-cheap slabs of beef in the Food Shitty near me. But the more revealing evidence of how bogus this project looks is the photo in the catalog of what appears to be flank steak (because brisket isn’t a steak, no?) cut straight down like a loaf of bread. My teeth got tired just thinking of chewing a slice. And those exotic lotus roots in another photo definitely send the message that steak, as an entree, is the other cheap meat. I’ve never heard of an author being asked, “Who’s your hubby?” but maybe he actually has the power to make other editors fall in line online. Didn’t it work for Shirley Lord?
Loudon Wainwright III does a disturbing song called “My Biggest Fan,” in which the adjective is very literal. Imagine if he had one who talks snarky and carries a very big marrow bone. He’d probably be calling for two fat chicks and hot chocolate. I’m beyond flattered.
I love it when carefully arranged PR campaigns go gloriously bad. This should have been such a happy time for a couple down in the Beresford, him with his new movie coming out, her with her cookbook soaring to the top of the best-seller list on a blast of Oprah. Then someone had to go and ruin it all by pointing out similarities in another yummy mummy how-to. Even Martha Stewart, who went through the same hazing at least 25 years ago, probably couldn’t judge what the truth is, but it’s worth noting that the author herself was essentially stolen from her first husband. And it’s scary to think not one but two women actually came up with the idea of raising little Chimps by teaching them deception is good from a very young age. Now one YM has learned the hazards of venturing into the viper pit of publishing without an agent and the other has had a lesson in the nastiness of the food world. Would Oprah have her back for a different kind of flogging?
I was so flattered to be invited to a tyro gourmand’s book party that I feel compelled to warn him he is heading for trouble. You know that old adage about success? Judging by what I had to listen to, he could wind up with a million mothers. It’s way too late, but failure would have meant only the one.
Fairway prides itself on being first on so many things, so I have a suggestion after getting body-slammed yet again, this time by a cretin rushing to the register who hit my barely healed broken shoulder with all her weight and not even an excuse me. If shopping has to be a blood sport, why not put in an EMT station? Holy Foods would have them in no time.
What is it with Mrs. L and Mr. V? I heard her on Brian Lehrer talking about taste being the most provocative stimulus of memory (I’d vote for smell or sound, myself), and when it came time to drop a chef’s name, guess whose was trotted out yet again. I absolutely doubt the Friendship is curdling, but it is odd. And of course I only bring this up because I was recently asked to blurb a book by a blogger I have never met, only to be advised by his handlers that my terse praise was not used “in the hopes that your editors” may “allow you to write about” the opus. Undoubtedly it was a face-saving excuse, but even words that wind up on the cutting room floor count in my estimation — a phantom blurb should haunt you more than one in print.